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Is the importance of shaving technique over-emphasized?

OikieStubble and Medivh have it figured out! I figure learning good shaving technique is <10% as hard as learning how to east soup with a spoon. I only say this because I have a grandchild who is trying to learn how to use a spoon ... now THAT is a danged hard skill to master! Shaving ... not so much. Drinking for an open cup: also a hard skill.
 
This might go under some existing thread - up to to the moderators!

I am bewildered by the emphasis on the importance of technique in DE shaving. Here are notes:

1. I've really only shaved with the following DE razors: Viking Blade the Chieftain, Merkur 34C, King C. Gillette, Baili 171, and Karve Brass SB (B and C plates). So this relative lack of experience might influence my opinion.

2. Among these, the VB Chieftain had by far the most blade exposure. Regardless of trying, I was never able to shave with it without a relative blood bath. Now, it is possible that some technique training would have helped ... I contend that the razor is just 'too much' for me.

3. Among the others, mostly mild to at most medium type razors, there was no issue whatsoever in terms of technique. I mean, the angle is intuitive and obvious based on the design of the head of the razor - you can figure it out immediately, more or less. Granted, there is going WTG and XTG and ATG .... that isn't much in terms of technique. Pressing harder or not as hard is just sort of intuitive too ... not much in terms of technique.

4. In terms of pre-shave and soap and all that: it doesn't matter much for me as long as I have some soap on my face when I shave. Hand soap works as well as anything else for me.

So I guess my point is this: the razor made all the difference for me, not the technique. The technique was 2%, the razor was 98%. The notion that you can shave with anything as long as you learn the technique seems ... iffy to me, at best ... it's mainly about the razor. I think this is what should be emphasized to newbies. It seems misleading to me to tell them to stick with on razor and work on the technique until they get it down. If you are experiencing a blood bath, you need to get a milder razor, not just keep using the offending razor until you learn how not to cut yourself (which could be never). With a milder razor, the newbie won't cut themselves ... regardless of technique considerations ... I think ... YMMV: I am just throwing this out there.
I think you're right in the big picture. Sticking with a single razor doesn't teach you technique in general, it teaches you technique on that razor. You adapt to the limitations of that razor and get the best results for your own situation.

It's also true that some razors don't require much technique because there's such a small range of angles that they'll cut at. You can't practice the difference between going shallow and steep on a razor that doesn't contact the skin at all if you adjust your angle slightly to either direction.

The motto on here is YMMV, but it's easy to forget. People will tell you to keep trying with a razor because that razor works for them. It may never work for your face even with perfect technique.
 
I'm with technique. I'm in my mid-70s and have been wetshaving since retirement about 12 years ago. I've been down all the rabbit holes and have multiple DEs, blades, brushes and soaps to choose from. Since covid, and a move late last year, I now shave less frequently, usually late in the day after downing half a fifth of gin or more. I choose my gear on a whim, but sober or half in the bag, the gear doesn't matter. The shaves are always good, with no cuts or weepers. It's all technique.
 
The VB Chieftain is your ticket to great technique. Once you tame that razor and you're able to get good consistent results you will know that your technique has improved. You won't get "punished" by your bad technique when using a mild razor (King C, Merkur 34c, Karve B-C) But you will definitely need a proper angle and featherweight touch to get a good irritation-free shave with an aggressive razor. I suggest you stick to your Chieftain, try a couple of blades and play around with the angle
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
I believe experience trumps all. Just keep shaving and your “technique” will come along with it. Most of us who came along years before carts and disposables were even imagined, had little or no instruction. Dad just gave us a razor a can of cream and told us what the styptic pencil was for and let us have at it. The more we shaved the better we got and never forgot what that styptic pencil was for.
 
Technique matters. I've been doing it for a while now. At first I was looking for the perfect razor and there are some I like better than others, but over the years of doing it and being part of this community I've come to realize that knowing proper technique is crucial. I've retried handles and blades that I used to abhor and get much better results now after shelving them away for many years.

What you could be experiencing is that your style matches a certain razor, which is totally valid. Given more experience you'll start to see the ability to make more and more of the various razors start to shine in their own right.
 
Among these, the VB Chieftain had by far the most blade exposure. Regardless of trying, I was never able to shave with it without a relative blood bath. Now, it is possible that some technique training would have helped ... I contend that the razor is just 'too much' for me.
I believe you are confusing blade exposure with blade reveal. The VB Chieftain does have a ton of blade reveal, but the blade exposure is negative, and was one of the least efficient razors I had.

Cut me up like crazy when I first started because my of my technique.

It was also the first DE razor that I tried when I started wet shaving almost three years ago after decades of electric razors.
Safety_Razor_Parameters_around_Blade_Cutting_Edge.jpg


Technique is key.

Man I need a shave

doug
 
(Crap, because the internet is slow, JT beat me to my 1-word answer), "No." After ditching carts a little over two years ago I've used DEs, SEs and have also brought straight razors into the rotation. It's all technique to include your physical and mental approach to the task at hand as your technique will compensate for a myriad of shortcomings in the tool(s) you choose. I used a straight this morning, and although I have less than 25 SR shaves in, I find that every SR shave is just a little bit better than the last. I'd never say SRs are better than SEs or DEs, but if/when you decide to use a Straight Razor for the first time, technique will be a little closer to the 100% number (YMWV).
 
Good post. This thread makes me curious to see if I can get a decent shave using the tin lid from an empty pork & beans can...

I can almost bet, the 100th shave will/would go better with it than the very first shave. If I fail to adjust and learn technique, I might just have to change my username to scarface... :)
maybe start with a spoon (in the spoiler below) as an incremental step? at least it has a handle. and while I like smiling edges, a tin can (even a #10) feels like it might be an extreme smile to me.

it's all about the hone if there's enough carbon in the lid to hold an edge. heat treat may be tricky too. but I look forward to hearing and seeing your results.

Seems not that iffy:


 
maybe start with a spoon (in the spoiler below) as an incremental step? at least it has a handle. and while I like smiling edges, a tin can (even a #10) feels like it might be an extreme smile to me.

it's all about the hone if there's enough carbon in the lid to hold an edge. heat treat may be tricky too. but I look forward to hearing and seeing your results.
I had to turn off the axe video. It's making me sweat just thinking about it.
 
The technique is also limited to the type of skin and whiskers you have as well as the blade you're using. We all had that first time shave with that razor when the shave was close to perfection and it almost felt like it's the 1000th shave with that razor and not the first and also that razor when despite all the attempts, different angles, pressure, blades etc. the shaves feel forced and ok at best. Even the most experienced shaver on the planet is going to have personal razor preference despite the fact that he can shave with pretty much every razor he touches and no amount of practice is ever going to change that.
 
I've been wetshaving for around 20 years now. When you first start, there are two steep learning curves: Generating lather, and technique. IMO generating lather is equally as important as learning technique. Having said that, yeah, you should definitely map your face, learn to J hook, scuff, all that good stuff. I got to the point where I could have shaved blindfolded, and I use a 1959 Gilette adjustable on click 7 with a Feather.

I've even converted my wife and teenage daughter to wet shaving their legs. I know, TMI, but once I convinced them that they would save money, avoid bumps and ingrown hairs, and not contribute to our throwaway society, they were all in. I bet you've never seen a 13 year old girl wet-shave with a Feather blade and a decent Mekur...all technique and the right lather...

If anything, I think lathering and prep are underemphasized. You can do a lot with a thick lather that stays on your beard with a mediocre razor, but even the best razor/blade combo won't work very well with watery lather.

Bottom line, it's all of a piece. Can't take away one element of the shave and have it go right.
 
I believe you are confusing blade exposure with blade reveal. The VB Chieftain does have a ton of blade reveal, but the blade exposure is negative, and was one of the least efficient razors I had.

Cut me up like crazy when I first started because my of my technique.

It was also the first DE razor that I tried when I started wet shaving almost three years ago after decades of electric razors.
View attachment 1369860


Technique is key.

Man I need a shave

doug

if blade exposure is negative on that one, I will absolutely take back everything I said about technique not being that much of a 'thing.'
 
if blade exposure is negative on that one, I will absolutely take back everything I said about technique not being that much of a 'thing.'
I used my VB Chieftain with a blade gap of .034" for two miserable weeks before switching it out for a Razorock DE1 which had an even larger gap of .053". Because of the way these two razors clamp the blade the exposure ends up negative regardless of the gap, and the razors are actually on the mild side.

My Karve with the SBG baseplate has a gap of .053" and is referred to as a "Meat Cleaver".

Consider that a Fatip Grande has no gap at all, but is considerably more aggressive than either the Chieftain or DE1. A MÜHLE R41 with no gap is considered an aggressive razor.

After getting a few years of wet shaving with a multitude of razors I picked up my VB Chieftain one last time, put a Bic Chrome in it, got a nice shave then boxed it up and sent it off to PIF land.

The emphasis here is that you cannot judge a razor by the gap.

Man I need a shave

doug
 
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